Archive for May, 2006

100+mpg Plug-in hybrid debut in Washington DC

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

Today Set America Free and Calcars took a plug in hybrid – the first ever in Washington DC – for a drive around town. Here are a couple pictures, featuring Gov. Pataki and Senator Ben Nelson. We’ll have more tommorow: the morning starts with a hearing on plug in hybrids on the House Science Committee Subcommittee on Energy, and continues with a bipartisan bicameral press conference featuring two 100+mpg plug-ins, and test drives for Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill. In the meantime….

Welcome Aboard!

Monday, May 15th, 2006

Kudos to Senator Jack Reed for becoming the 25th co-sponsor of S.2025, The Vehicle and Fuel Choices for American Security Act.
Is your Senator on board yet?

US oil executive murdered in Nigeria

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

A U.S. oil executive was shot and killed in his car on the way to work in Port Harcourt, Nigeria by a motorcycle gunman. BBC has more.

Weekly energy oped roundup

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

is up at OpinionSource.

Redford endorses Fuel Choices for American Security Act

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

Robert Redford: “The Fuel Choices for American Security Act would cut our nation’s dependence on oil by 2.5 million barrels a day within 10 years — more than we currently import daily from the Persian Gulf. We can do it by producing more hybrids and other fuel-efficient cars…by making renewable American biofuels widely available at our local gas stations…by relying on smarter and cleaner ways to power our economy.”

Khosla and Daschle call to set America free

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

In their New York Times oped yesterday, Tom Daschle, the former Democratic Senate majority leader, and Vinod Khosla, prominent venture capitalist and one of the founders of Sun Microsystems write: “Our national leadership must promote a market-based shift away from petroleum-based fuels toward renewable fuels produced in America with American technology [...] First, it could set America free from its dependence on foreign oil. As Brazil’s “energy independence miracle” proves, an aggressive strategy of investing in petroleum substitutes like ethanol can end dependence on imported oil.”

A call for action from Florida

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

A letter in the Sun-Sentinel: “in November, both houses of Congress decided that this [oil crisis] situation was a national security issue, and introduced almost identical bipartisan bills, whose purpose was to reduce our dependence on foreign oil (HR4409 and S2025). The bills would provide an array of policy initiatives from financial incentives to enable Detroit to invest in more efficient technologies, to ramp up production of hybrids, incentives to grow a new generation of fuels made from plants, flexible fuel vehicles to increase fuel choice, reduce diesel consumption, and more [...]
“Congress must move much faster [...] The public has to press its representatives for quick action. Get those bills into committee and voted on.”

Saab flexible-fuel plug-in hybrid concept car

Monday, May 8th, 2006

We hope to see this car on the road in the U.S. soon: “The Saab 9-5 2.0t BioPower is already an outstanding sales success in Sweden, where it is currently the best selling flex-fuel vehicle on the market and able to exploit a fast-developing network of filling station selling E85 (85% bioethanol/15% petrol) fuel.
The Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept now goes a step further by using an engine fuelled by pure E100 bioethanol. This is a BioPower evolution of the current all-aluminium, 16-valve 2.0-liter turbo engine in the Saab 9-3 range. It now develops 191 kW/260 bhp and an impressive 375 Nm maximum torque, 24 per cent and 25 per cent more respectively than on petrol. The engine incorporates an integrated starter generator (ISG) and also charges a 300-volt battery bank, mounted under the floor of the trunk.

“It retains a flex-fuel capability and features a Spark Ignited Direct Injection (SIDI) system for optimum combustion with E100; ensuring the same cold starting performance as a normal gasoline engine. Variable inlet and exhaust cam phasing is used for optimum breathing and more durable valves and valve seats are fitted, together with bioethanol-compatible materials for the fuel system [...]

“In congested driving conditions, fuel saving is taken a step further by the Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept’s ‘Zero Mode’ operation – giving zero fuel consumption, and, of course, zero emissions – which can be selected by the driver via a button in the central console. At speeds below 50 kph, ‘Zero Mode’ will shut off the engine and again switch the car over to electric power only through the RDU. In this mode, the battery bank provides a range of between 10 and 20 kilometres. The engine is smoothly re-engaged whenever the battery status approaches a low charge level or the electronic throttle opening requires acceleration beyond the 50 kph operating limit.

“To optimise the availability of ‘Zero Mode’, a plug-in-feature is available which allows the battery bank to be connected to a mains electricity supply for additional charging in the garage. This would, for example, allow a driver commuting in heavy traffic to immediately resume in ‘Zero Mode’ the next morning after arriving home the previous evening having used up all its range. A neat socket is located behind the Saab badge on the 9-3 BioPower Hybrid Concept’s trunk lid. “

This dovetails nicely with a recent interview with Shinichi Abe, head of Toyota‘s hybrid division. The UK Guardian reported: “Toyota is working on plans for “plug-ins” for the battery from the grid at fuel stations, with future hybrids carrying a traditional power-point for domestic appliances to be used outside the home. Mr Abe said the next Prius model will be able to do a nine-mile commute to work without using any petrol or diesel.”

A reminder

Monday, May 8th, 2006

This is the enemy that we are facing, an enemy whose radical ideology is fueled and proliferated world wide by an unprecedented influx of petrodollars.

Lugar calls for U.S. – Brazil energy cooperation

Monday, May 8th, 2006

An excellent oped in the Miami Herald, co-authored with Brazillian ambassador the the U.S. Roberto Abdenour. Note the suggestion to remove the 54 cent a gallon tariff on ethanol imports. Excerpt:

“both [the U.S. and Brazil] face challenges to our energy security from the sharply rising worldwide demand for energy. Higher world energy prices, greater vulnerability to energy shocks and increased potential for conflict are consequences that will affect all nations. But amid this new energy threat, we also have an opportunity to fashion a win-win response that could benefit both our countries.

“The key is ethanol, which Brazil long ago saw as an important element of its energy strategy and now provides 18 percent of the country’s automotive fuel, thanks to a booming sugar-cane-based ethanol industry. As a result, Brazil, which years ago had to import a large share of the petroleum needed for domestic consumption, recently reached complete self-sufficiency in oil. For its own energy security, the United States — by far the world’s largest oil importer — similarly needs to break oil’s near-monopoly on the transport sector by turning to ethanol for a much larger share of its auto fuel supply. Although the United States, using corn, produces nearly as much ethanol as Brazil and is expanding its annual production by 25 percent, the four billion gallons produced is still a tiny fraction of the 140 billion gallons of gasoline consumed.

“Using E-85 fuel, a blend of 15-percent gasoline and 85-percent ethanol, and easily available flexible-fuel technology so that cars can burn E-85, the United States could dramatically lower its oil dependence. Gaining consumer acceptance will spur the expansion of ethanol production and infrastructure. That means spreading the availability of E-85, now largely limited to the Midwest, to markets from coast to coast.

“One solution might be for the United States to import more Brazilian ethanol to blend on East Coast, where transportation costs significantly raise the price of Midwest ethanol. That would, however, require the politically difficult step of ending the protective tariffs on Brazilian ethanol that now shelters the U.S. industry. It makes strategic sense to import environmentally friendly ethanol from a reliable friend like Brazil in our own hemisphere. After all, the United States doesn’t tax imported crude oil, which pollutes and often comes from unstable suppliers.”